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Curbing Puppy Aggression

puppy aggression

Aggression is one of the most common reasons for puppies being sent to rescues or shelters when they become unmanageable. The reality is that puppy aggression is usually a fault directly of the owners and the breeders and may, in fact, be completely correctable. Some puppies are naturally more aggressive than others with male puppies normally slightly more aggressive than females. Some breeds may also be more aggressive as puppies and may also be more prone to aggression as they mature if not properly trained.

Staying With Mom

Staying for longer periods of time rather than shorter periods with the mother and littermates is often a way to help puppies understand that they are not to be aggressive. The female trains puppies not be aggressive when they are with her. This training occurs around the six to eight week stage but does continue on until the puppy is taken to the new owners. The longer puppies are left with the mother, up to eight to ten weeks, the more they have learned to control their aggressive tendencies. This is important socialization time for the puppies. Many puppies that are taken from the litter at young ages of less than eight weeks, some are taken at six, have many adjustment and aggression problems when they mature, despite what the current owner does or does not do. Many breeders of the more aggressive breeds will not allow puppies to leave the kennel until ten to twelve weeks of age.


Since most people won’t have a large number of pets or animals at their house it is important to find a way to start socializing your puppy as soon as possible. Once they have completed their complete set of puppy shots and boosters, usually at about twelve weeks, get them enrolled in a puppy training class. This not only helps you work with the puppy on obedience issues but also helps your puppy feel comfortable around other puppies, people and in new surroundings.

Take your puppy on lots of outings. Take him or her to new places and to meet new people and other safe dogs and other pets. Try to make all experiences as positive as possible and avoid any traumatizing events if at all possible. Puppies normally show aggression as a defense mechanism. If they never become severely traumatized or afraid they will not use aggression as they mature.

If you have a puppy that was more aggressive with his or her littermates or is aggressive with people or pets be sure to start a firm and loving obedience program. Do not allow the puppy to determine what will happen and when training will occur, rather set a schedule and work with the puppy on positive rewards. Punishing an aggressive puppy is likely to result in more aggression rather than less as the puppy becomes frightened and defensive. Avoid games such as tug-of-war, wrestling or games that encourage the puppy to chase people, as this will actually reinforce the aggression.

Proper socialization, positive behavior training and lots of interactions and obedience will help an aggressive puppy become a well-rounded, calm and obedient dog.

About the author: Kelly Marshall is the head writer at Oh My Dog Supplies – an online pet store specializing in dog beds and elevated dog feeders